It feels like I have been trying to learn to run for as long as I can remember. Back in high school when I played lacrosse, I remember during team practices being one of the last girls circling the track during run training. I though the kids on cross-country team were crazy - a sport in which running was the actual sport - not just part of the training.
I knew leading up to this race that I wanted to invest in more running training compared to 2015. A year ago, I had good intentions - weather and life seemed to get in the way. This year, I started earlier - around November'ish. I realized that I would have to cut back on the biking and swimming in order to make time to up the run frequency. I started with adding the long runs on Sunday mornings, which used to be my 'long' bike ride day. Since the weather got crappy with El Nino, giving up the bike wasn't that problematic. The long runs started at 7 miles, building to 8 - 10, then 11-14. In past years of training, I never had enough runaway to build up to that distance. I also increased the run frequency from, sometimes only once per week during tri season, to 3-4 times per week. The first week in January, I spent 8 days in China and was able to pull up some treadmill runs. Probably most crazy to my pre-race build-up was 4 nights in Las Vegas the week prior to the event - that was a true test. I managed 2 treadmill runs (barely awake). I was concerned that this long week would affect my event performance. However, maybe it had the opposite effect in that it as a forced taper.
Now comes race day - I learned from last year that the parking lots on Great Highway fill up really fast. I awoke at 4AM and was in the parking lot as one of the first around 5:30AM. I chilled in my car for a bit - took some pictures and then headed off to the shuttle bus into the park to the race start.
I had one goal for this race: come in under the 2 hour mark and don't bonk at Mile 8 - like in my 3 previous attempts at the race. Doing the math, 2 hours is a 9:09 pace. Given that the large race tend to run long on course distance, I knew I would have to aim for a little under that pace in order to guarantee the under 2 mark. I did my 20 minute warm-up - felt decent and got to the starting line pumped up.
As the race started and progressed, my pace was faster than I thought I would have - I started around 8:30 and kept descending. As I neared the Great Highway and the start of 7 mile, I did fear that everything would blow up. I tried some different techniques which I believe contributed to a better outcome - to start, I hydrated and eat even more prior to race start. During the race, I grabbed water and actually drank it. This is something that I never have done in the run leg of triathlons - I think I need to start it though - worked great. Also, last year, I didn't take my first gel until Mile 7. By that point, I was 1 hour in and totally bonked. This race, I did the first gel at the 30 minute mark, which is always what I do on my training runs. Then I did another gel at the 1:15 mark. I do believe the nutrition and hydration plan allowed me to complete the last miles with minimal suffering. I employed some major visualization techniques from Mile 8 onwards. On the Great Highway, there are a series of traffic lights. My technique was to stare at the light and repeat the color in my mind as the mantra. Then on to the next light. Hyper focus. Although the scenery is gorgeous with the beach and Pacific Ocean to your side, I couldn't fixate on that. Around mile 10, I realized that I was going to be able to pull this off - the under 2 hour mark. By the last .5 mile, I picked it up to get under 1:50. The last .25 mile, I hauled butt as it is slightly uphill. When I finished, I was so stocked and amazed that I had achieved a 8:16 pace. Prior to this training, I couldn't even get close to that on a standalone 10K. Here's how I will some it up:
Transcendence to teal: knowing that you are happy at the same time happiness is going on around you. How to run a race: first: run with your legs, second: run with your mind, third: run with your heart. You will always win - this is why I race. 2016 Kaiser Half Marathon:1:49:18, 8:16 min/mi. Personal record. Happy Valentine's Day ! #trimom #kaisersfhalfmarathon #goteal #pr #goalsetting #defeatmile8 #fitafterfour #thegoodlife
Pace: 8:16 min/mi
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